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Chargers Power Rankings Roundup: Bolts hanging around NFL midline in latest rankings

At 5-4, the Chargers are no longer among the league’s upper echelon.

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers were barely hanging on to a top-10 spot in several power rankings after they narrowly escaped the Falcons in week nine. However, a loss to the 49ers finally unhooked that last finger on the cliff of the top tier teams.

After a 22-16 loss on Sunday Night Football, the Chargers are much more centered around the middle of the NFL with their various rankings. Some publications believe the latest loss should weigh all that much while others used it as an excuse to make the Bolts tumble a bit.

Let’s go ahead and check out how the Bolts shook out in this week’s roundup.

The Ringer - #12

“Justin Herbert is special. He’s an unreal talent capable of making absolutely mind-boggling throws, like this one he made Sunday night in a loss to the 49ers. Of course, that means little if you’re not a winning quarterback, but that is not on Herbert as much as it is on the offensive play calling and supporting cast. How much of the Chargers’ offensive struggles are because of OC Joe Lombardi and how much are due to injuries to the receiving corps and offensive line is hard to say, but the bottom line is the Chargers are simply too conservative and too unsuccessful on early downs. That, combined with a Brandon Staley–led defense that still can’t stop the run and ranks 30th in rushing yards allowed per game just isn’t going to get it done regardless of how sexy the all-22 angles of Herbert’s throws are every week.” - Austin Gayle

Pro Football Network - #14

“‘Frustrating’ is becoming too kind of an adjective to describe the Chargers’ offense. Joe Lombardi and Tom Telesco have put a rucksack filled to the brim with cement and strapped it to Justin Herbert’s back. The young QB is consistently forced to thread the needle in a scheme as predictable as a fan being upset about a loss by their favorite football team.”

“Once again, the Chargers’ offense fell flat. Their first drive put us all into a false sense of happiness, going 75 yards in seven plays to score a touchdown. They scored 16 points in the first half but could only manage three total first downs in the second half, which kept their already depleted defense on the field for most of the second half against San Francisco.”

“Without Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, Los Angeles didn’t have enough firepower.” - Dalton Miller

The Athletic - #15

“There may not be another team in the league more negatively affected by injuries this season than the Chargers, who Daniel Popper writes are not making excuses. But the Chargers have the second easiest schedule in the league, per Football Outsiders, once they descend the summit of Sunday night’s game against the Chiefs. If Keenan Allen and Mike Williams do mercifully return eventually, maybe Herbert will look like a hitter who finally took the donut off his bat. Or, because it’s the Chargers, maybe the bat will just break.” - Bo Wulf

Sports Illustrated - #15

“One of the best quarterbacks in the league is being constantly subjected to ineffective first-down runs. Having Justin Herbert with a CPOE + EPA composite lower than Andy Dalton is an absolute sin.” - Conor Orr

Bleacher Report - #15

“The Los Angeles Chargers have problems. Plural. Actually, it’s one problem…that keeps happening over and over and over.”


“The Chargers went into Sunday night’s showdown with the San Francisco down their top two wide receivers (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams). And their No. 1 cornerback (J.C. Jackson). And their best pass-rusher (Joey Bosa). And Los Angeles lost tight end Gerald Everett during the game. Good luck moving the ball against one of the league’s best defenses with a cadre of nobodies catching passes from a quarterback in Justin Herbert who has himself battled a rib injury much of the season.”

“Head coach Brandon Staley made no excuses after the loss, crediting San Francisco’s defense for putting the clamps on in the second half.”

“‘They did a good job against the run in the second half,’ Staley said. ‘We couldn’t get anything going in the run game, and in the passing game it was tight. The rush was coming, and there wasn’t a lot of air in the second and third level to take advantage of.’”

“The loss puts the Chargers’ backs against the wall, at least where the AFC West is concerned. Fall to the surging Chiefs at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, and the division race could be all but over before Thanksgiving. And with the Chargers all kinds of beat up, that seems more likely than not.” - NFL Staff

ESPN - #16

“Coach Brandon Staley said there came a point when it was apparent that both sides needed to move on. “Where we’re headed as a team wasn’t going to be compatible with Jerry and where he’s trying to go,” Staley said. Tillery appeared in seven games this season and recorded a sack and forced fumble.” - Lindsey Thiry

Sporting News - #16

“The Chargers can’t seem to support Justin Herbert enough offensively and find enough answers for their run defense. They are facing a tough task to stay in the playoff picture with a tough slate ahead, starting with the Chiefs.” - Vinnie Iyer

Pro Football Talk - #17

“The playoffs are far from certain for a team that certainly knows how to sabotage itself.” - Mike Florio - #18

“Justin Herbert had two chances to lead the Chargers on a game-winning drive in the final two minutes against the 49ers on Sunday night, but those possessions ended with a four-and-out and first-play interception. Underwhelming to say the least, but Herbert is on an island right now. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen were both again sidelined by injuries, and Los Angeles also played without either of its starting tackles on the offensive line. Add in a defensive front ravaged by injuries, and it’s a familiar refrain for the Bolts: Imagine if this team were healthy? Problem is, they never are.” - Dan Hanzus

Yahoo Sports - #18

“The Chargers’ five second-half possessions gained 57 net yards, three first downs and ended with three punts, a turnover on downs and an interception. Even with all the injuries they have, and despite facing a good 49ers defense, the Chargers’ offense with Justin Herbert has to be better than that.” - Frank Schwab